Fertility Peer Support - I Chose Contentment
Fertility Support - Reclaiming Choices
There are many things that are out of our control. We certainly discovered that when it came to fertility. We assumed that things would go just right and that becoming pregnant would come easily.
I learned that things could be even more out of my control once I was in fertility treatment. Test results weren't what I expected. Medications didn't work precisely as intended. Appointments that were scheduled and planned for a Monday had to be rescheduled and replanned for Wednesday. Then Friday. Procedures that were supposed to be simple: sometimes they were, sometimes they weren't.
Lots and lots of things out of my control.
Meditation and yoga came into my life, or back into my life, at just the right time. And to answer the question that I asked in Ladies Night In (peer fertility support group offered first Wednesday of the month in Danbury, second Wednesday of the month in Norwalk; free and open to the public, dinner provided), I don't believe in coincidences. I know that things happened the way they needed to and that they continue to do so.
I learned and am relearning and remembering that there are things in my control. I can decide how to focus and on what.
I wrote a list on the white board in the conference room of the RMA Danbury, CT fertility office last night. I've never met a blank piece of paper or canvas that I haven't enjoyed creating on and this one was just begging for attention. Partly because I had created some cards at home that I intended to bring but had forgotten at the last minute.
Here was my list:
I asked everyone to come in and pick the word that spoke to them. Not to overthink it, intellectualize it, but to acknowledge that there was a pull in their heart towards one of the words, over the others. I didn't overexplain it or say what we would or wouldn't do with the words.
Peggy came first, and set the evening with an unusual amount of wisdom. Unexpected, welcome wisdom. She picked "Calm" and explained why. Why: "it would bring about all those other feelings and emotions." It was her way in to all of it. I love that.
When we were all talking about the words/emotions later in the evening, we talked about Peggy's statement. That the word/emotion that we chose, were drawn to, was, in essence, our way of crossing the threshold leading to all the other emotions. And each of us had our own doorway and threshold in, with different reasons and purposes for choosing what we did.
One of our dear ladies said that she never really even saw the other words, she only saw Acceptance. She considered that if she had thought more about it, she might have picked another word. But at that moment, it was if there was nothing else written on the board.
And sometimes it happens just like that. The right decision or choice lights up, whether it makes perfect intellectual sense or not.
That is our heart speaking to us, our deepest self.
Each of us had our own reasons for needing what we chose. Even when we picked the same word, the reasons were vastly different.
And some of us chose where we thought we were, while others of us chose what we wanted for ourselves that we don't yet have.
Carrie Van Steen, co-leader and friend, talked about using bricks to build walls while trying to maintain privacy or distance while in fertility treatment. That each time we chose not to say how we really felt or chose not to share with someone close to us, that we added a brick to that wall.
We have choices though. And we have control also. Not over the things that we wish we had, but in some ways over things far more powerful.
We can choose what we focus on. What we turn towards and what we turn away from.
Combatting Loss During Fertility Treatment
We experience a lot of loss in fertility treatment, including loss of lifestyle, from not eating and drinking certain foods, to not enjoying the type of exercise that maintains our equilibrium.
We can choose to focus only on those losses or we can turn our focus towards what we can control.
I chose Contentment. That is what will open the door to those other feelings, for me. To be content in the moment, this one, right here, will lead me across the threshold.
I wrote the word Contentment in lipstick on my bathroom mirror. I wrote it on a sticky note and put it by my front door. I put it in an alarm on my phone for 3:00 pm.
I can choose to focus on Contentment. It has no bad side effects, no calories, doesn't interfere with fertility treatment, won't keep me up at night, won't make me feel guilty.
What do you choose? Will you take this challenge with me? Pick one of those feelings and bring it closer to you. Think about it, write about it, or just remind yourself of it once or twice a day by putting it somewhere you will see. Go further if you like. Look up the definition and write it down. Go further still, if you like, and write what it means to you. What it looks like and feels to and for you. Go further still, draw a picture.
Again, something you CAN do. Something you can control. Something you can bring closer to yourself.
What have you got to lose?
Start looking beyond those bricks in the walls that we are building.
Try something different.
I chose Contentment.
About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.